Bills Don't Need to Draft ILB or Safety Depth

There are a lot of mock drafts that have the Bills addressing inside linebacker and safety depth early in the 2015 draft. Buffalo may be better off signing veterans for each spot starting on May 12.

There are plenty of mock drafts that have the Buffalo Bills addressing inside linebacker and safety depth early in the 2015 NFL draft. While depth could certainly be added by the Bills through the draft, don't be surprised if the team goes about filling those positions starting on May 12.

Why May 12? That's the date that teams can sign unrestricted free agents without it counting against the compensatory pick formula the NFL uses. Currently, the Bills have lost five free agents (C.J. Spiller, Da'Norris Searcy, Lee Smith, Erik Pears and Larry Dean) and only signed three free agents away from teams (Charles Clay, Jerome Felton and Tyrod Taylor). As it stands, Buffalo is in line to gain two compensatory picks. 

Keeping this in mind, Buffalo may be waiting for May 12 to sign safety Dawan Landry. The former New York Jets starter visited the Bills on April 7 and hasn't had any announced visits since. Doug Whaley said the team was going to "slow play" the decision to sign Landry. The decision will probably come down to Buffalo's draft board and what's available when they are on the clock. Landry has this year's safety class working in his favor. By all accounts, it's a weaker class and the Bills may be better off signing Landry to a one-year deal on or shortly after May 12. Buffalo currently has Aaron Williams and Duke Williams slotted as their starters with Bacarri Rambo and Jonathan Meeks as reserves. Drafting a safety for depth isn't a necessity, especially since Landry won't break the bank.

Brandon Spikes doesn't fit the May 12 criteria. The inside linebacker was with the Bills last season, so re-signing with the team wouldn't affect their compensatory picks. He's made it clear that he wants to return to Buffalo and Whaley has said that he'd like Spikes to return. For Spikes, re-signing with Buffalo probably comes down to money. For that reason, Spikes may need to wait until June 1. As it stands now, Buffalo doesn't have the money to re-sign Spikes. However, the team can cut two players with a June 1st designation. These are players that you cut to free up additional cap space for draft picks or free agents. The Bills have one clear June 1 cut candidate: Chris Williams. Cutting Williams with a June 1 designation would free up $2.475 million in cap space for the Bills. That money could be used towards re-signing Spikes.

As it stands, Williams is in line to compete for the left guard spot. If the team adds an offensive guard with pick 50 or 81, the possibility of cutting Williams increases. If that happens, the possibility of a Spikes return becomes more realistic.

It's important to note that this article is purely speculative. Buffalo could draft an inside linebacker and safety later this week if someone they value falls into their laps, However, Buffalo's master plan could include adding depth at inside linebacker and safety starting on or shortly after May 12.


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